People lived in Texas long before cowboys drove cattle or Spanish explorers arrived searching for gold. The Caddos, Jumanos, Wichitas, Karankawas, and other Native American populations of Texas will be the subject of this year's Texas History Symposium at the University of North Texas (UNT). The annual event's theme for 2009 is "Enduring Frontiers: Indians in Texas." The public is invited to hear two speakers discuss the past and present lives of Native Americans in Texas.
Humanities Texas awarded UNT a grant of $1,000 in support of the event, which will take place in Wooten Hall on the UNT campus in Denton on April 18 from 9:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., with a barbeque lunch included.
Dr. David La Vere, professor of history at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, will open the symposium with a lecture titled "Gone to Texas… and Then Just Gone: The 'Immigrant' Indians of Texas." La Vere's book, Contrary Neighbors: Southern Plains and Removed Indians in Indian Territory (2000, University of Oklahoma Press), won the 2001 Oklahoma Book Award for Best Nonfiction, while his upcoming book, The Texas Indians, reviews the history of Indians in Texas from 12,000 years ago to the present.
Comanche Nation member Rodney Stapp will speak at UNT's Texas History Symposium on April 18, 2009. Photo courtesy of UNT. Following a catered barbeque lunch, Rodney Stapp will discuss "Urban Indians in Texas." Stapp belongs to the Comanche Nation of Oklahoma and serves as the Chief Executive Officer of the Urban Inter-Tribal Center of Texas, a non-profit corporation serving the health and socio-economic needs of Native Americans.
Event Coordinator Jessica Heaston said the symposium is geared to the public, especially middle- and high-school teachers who want to learn more about specific aspects of Texas history. The symposium falls in line with a number of other UNT programs that support education, history, and heritage, including the Teaching of History Conference, the Military History Symposium, and the Teaching about Asia Conference.
The Texas History Symposium is in its third year, and Heaston expects over a hundred attendees. For more information on the symposium and how to register visit the UNT history department's website.